Morrisons megastore development 'will blight area' (From East London and West Essex Guardian Series)
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Consultation ends today on controversial new Morrisons site in Walthamstow
Opposition to a plan to build a large Morrisons store in the centre of Walthamstow is growing amidst claims it is completely inappropriate for the location, will damage businesses and blight the area.
The supermarket giant hopes to build a new superstore and 248 flats in a 34-metre high development on the council-owned South Grove site and the public consultation ends today.
But community organisations have raised a number of serious concerns over the proposal.
In an open letter to council leader Chris Robbins. Cleveland Park Residents Association, which represents about 200 homes near the site, said the plans for an “out-of-town” development were “not good enough”.
It wrote: The roads won’t cope and the existing shops will be hit hard.
“The design....means the development will be a huge block.
“Too many of the 248 flats are poor quality homes. And with towers on top of the car park and retail, the building will be 33.5m high, equivalent to 11 or 12 storeys.
“Housing should be redesigned or it will blight Walthamstow.”
The association added that the council has a responsibility for the site as the landowner and should insist the plans are changed.
The Waltham Forest Cycling Campaign said, at 73,000 sq ft, the superstore would be the largest Morrisons in the country - and much bigger than usual out-of-town supermarkets.
Morrisons say this is only one of their "larger medium-sized stores" because the 73,000 sq ft includes the storage and staff areas with the sales area taking up 39,000 sq ft.
It adds in its formal objection that, with planned added retail on the site, the development will be double the size recommended for the location in the local action plan.
The group said: “Both of these shops are completely out of keeping with all other local retail
opportunities [and] will deliver the opposite of regeneration for the struggling High Street.”
The campaign also condemned the “cheap” parking arrangements for failing to utilise existing facilities near other businesses and discouraging movement beyond the development.
AE17, a group which aims to promote “well-considered” planning in Walthamstow, said the plans are not sustainable.
In a report, it added: “There are many aspects of the design that are poor and compromised.”
Blackhorse Action Group said information provided during the consultation was limited, saying six display boards provided by Morrisons for the public did not mention the height of the development.
On its website it added that other aspects of the plans, including the amount of green space, were misleading.
A spokeswoman from Morrisons said: "We have worked hard with the local authority and GLA to ensure the South Grove scheme is of high quality, connects well with the town centre and therefore helps boost trade in Walthamstow.
”We have undertaken extensive consultation with the community and have also had our scheme reviewed by CABE whose comments have been invaluable in helping us achieve the amended scheme we have today.
"We are confident this development will deliver significant improvements to the South Grove site and bring many long-term benefits to the local community."
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